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Merkel Motor Wheel-Greyhound


Very rare American auxiliary engine, Merkel Motor Wheel Model A, mounted on Greyhound bicycle. Joseph Merkel's motor wheel engine was designed in 1915 and produced from 1916 to 1918. The production number of this unit is 362. The vehicle has been restored and is in running condition now.


"When Miami ceased production of Merkel motorcycles in 1915, Joseph Merkel designed and patented the 'Merkel Motor Wheel'. A self-contained power unit for attachment to the rear of a bicycle, the Merkel Motor Wheel was launched at the Cycle Trades Association Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey on December 4th 1916. It was claimed that there was 'no skill or special tools required to install' the MMW, which consisted of an overhead-vale engine driving the wheel by gears, a hub incorporating a coaster brake with freewheel, and a fuel tank mounted on top of the steel frame that carried the driving wheel. Speed was regulated by means of a valve lifter while the provision of a clutch by Hendee (see below) made the MMW a practical proposition for town use.

In December 1918 the Hendee Manufacturing Company - makers of Indian motorcycles - purchased the rights to the MMW and recommenced production at Springfield around 1920. A complete powered bicycle cost $85 and it was claimed that operating costs were as low as '400 miles for one dollar'! It is estimated that around 2,000 Merkel Motor Wheels made, of which only a few are known to still exist." (from

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